Welcome to Recruitment Asia 2017, Singapore – a two-day conference that will address your top recruitment concerns through comprehensive and insightful case studies, keynote presentations and interactive panel discussions from top-notch HR leaders across industries in Asia.

Reporting live from One Farrer Hotel & Spa, today’s conference will see a stellar line-up of recruitment experts who will share their challenges and successes. Stay tuned for live updates: http://bit.ly/RASG2017

As curtains close on this year’s edition of Recruitment Asia, we thank our sponsors for their support:

  1. Gold sponsor – Alexander Mann Solutions
  2. Exhibitors – Morgan McKinley | Sonru
  3. Event partner – Kelly Services Korea
  4. Lanyard sponsor – Recruit Inc
  5. Official photobooth partner – Selfiprint
  6. All our association and media partners

Those sessions bring us to the end of Recruitment Asia 2017, Singapore. Hope all of you had a great time and managed to bring home a few key takeaways from the conference. Thank you once again to all our speakers, delegates and sponsors, and we do hope to see you again next year.

We now have a panel of five HR experts who will discuss ideas of creating a balance between the internal and external workforce in the age of the gig economy.

For this, we have the pleasure of welcoming Mike Tang, talent acquisition lead at Publicis Media Singapore [seated far right], whom you have met earlier, back on stage as the panel moderator. Joining him are panelists [seated left to right]:

  • Michael Wright, global head of talent acquisition, Grab
  • Hua Tai-Kit, talent acquisition lead, APAC, Cargill
  • Padmashree Santosh, associate director, talent and development, SEA, Merck Group
  • Suzie Custerson, global business effectiveness lead, talent management, Manulife

RA SG D2 panel 2

This speaker brings more than 15 years of progressive HR career growth with established MNCs across all HR disciplines.

He was recently showcased in the LinkedIn Power Profiles 2017 and is currently leading the talent acquisition function for Publicis Media Singapore, under Publicis Worldwide.

Today, Mike Tang, talent acquisition lead at Publicis Media Singapore, will delve into how to build an inter-connected synergistic ecosystem of talent by engaging key employees and expanding the organisational capacity using cognitive diversity.

He advised: "You should hire based on the profile of your current workforce so that you know that you are bringing in the right people."

RA SG D2 Publicis keynote

We now delve into a roudtable discussion where delegates discuss how on-boarding programmes can be standardised and structured to scale organisational success.

The next speaker has had 18 years of resourcing experience and a degree in organisational psychology. He currently leads Alexander Mann Solutions’ regional business, partnering with organisations in Asia Pacific and the emerging markets to transform their talent acquisition and management.

In this session, Caleb Baker, managing director for APAC and emerging markets at Alexander Mann Solutions, will explore the evolution of sourcing and the three steps to implement insight-led sourcing in your corporation.

"We need to market like a consumer. Organisations, like Apple for example, spend so much time and money studying the consumers. That's exactly what recruitment needs," he says.

He adds: "Currently, recruitment processes are designed with the organisation in mind, not the candidate."

RA SG D2 Alexander Mann Solutions keynote

Our speaker for this session has helped global organisations develop competitive advantages through actionable information and technology.

Today, as the people analytics and metrics global head for GSC at Schneider Electric, Alan Sumano will tap on that experience to share how organisations can put their people at the forefront of business using data analytics, as well as how Schneider uses data analytics to keep up with changes in business strategies.

He shares that the workforce of today is not the workforce of the future, you have to evaluate the future direction, anticipate the workforce shift, understand specific local and regional situations and address initial business concerns.

RA SG D2 Schneider keynote

Next up, we have a panel discussion on how to maintain the balance between internal development versus external hiring, which Veli Aghdiran, regional learning and culture director for APAC at Essence, has kindly agreed to moderate.

Joining him are panelists:

  • Eng-Sheng Yeo, regional HR director, Southeast Asia, Japan and Oceania, Gemalto
  • Jisun Park, head of tech staffing, APAC, Google
  • Joan Soong, head, global executive recruitment, Schneider Electric
  • Lim Teck Yong, head of the people team, Shopee

Our first speaker is known for his in-depth understanding of organisational behaviour and the impact of culture on business results.

Currently, as the regional learning and culture director for APAC at Essence, he has been pivotal in designing and executing Essence’s organisational transformation journey globally.

Today, Veli Aghdiran, regional learning and culture director for APAC at Essence, will be tapping on his experience to share how organisations can leverage on their culture to attract the right candidates.

He shared that the firm's leadership team went through a process to articulate the culture, process, mission, and values to identify the 'magic' people see when they work with Essence.

RA SG D2 Essence keynote

Human Resources senior journalist Jerene Ang welcomes delegates as she opens the event.

In her opening speech, she said: “As promised, in today’s conference, you can look forward to panel discussions, roundtable conversations, and case studies from HR leaders at Publicis Media, Schneider Electric, and more.”

With that, she welcomes the first speaker on stage.


With that, we come to the end of day one of Recruitment Asia, 2017 - Singapore. We will be back to welcome you all tomorrow on day two, 3 November 2017. In the meantime, we thank our sponsors for their support:

  1. Gold sponsor – Alexander Mann Solutions
  2. Exhibitors – Morgan McKinley | Sonru
  3. Event partner – Kelly Services Korea
  4. Lanyard sponsor – Recruit Inc
  5. Official photobooth partner – Selfiprint
  6. All our association and media partners

The final session on today's agenda is a panel discussion on the topic of aligning organisational direction with employee life goals, with Gary Lee, chief HR specialist, global talent development, Grundfos as moderator [seated extreme right].

Joining him are panellists [seated left-right]:

  • Andrew Sam, head of talent acquisition, Asia/global (SEA, Taiwan and China), Applied Materials
  • Prabhu Rammurthi, director HR global services, Asia Pacific and Japan, Hewlett Packard Enterprise
  • Ash Mishra, head of talent management, Southeast Asia, Oceania and India, Ericsson Telecommunications
  • Arthur Lam, POD lead, APAC, Syngenta


Evidence-based HR - it's more than a buzzword. Data-based decision making in HR is here to stay, and one of its biggest champions is none other than our next speaker - Daniel Ward who spearheads global recruitment at iflix. Daniel was first hired in Cape Town, South Africa, to recruit tech employees for iflix’s African offices - he is now at iflix's HQ in Kuala Lumpur, recruiting across multiple functions for the organisation worldwide.

Currently focused on adapting iflix’s recruitment practices to a changing environment, today he is here to talk about evidence-based HR as an enabler for optimising and retaining the workforce.

He affirms, “With recruitment done right, you don’t need a huge HR team. If you bring in the right people, most of the problems will go away.”

RA SG  D1 iflix

Our next speaker is the chief HR specialist for global talent development at Grundfos, Gary Lee is responsible for developing high potential employees across 50 countries. He takes this within his stride - coming to the role with more than 15 years of experience in learning and OD, talent and people management.

Today, he shares the experience of building the strong brand ambassadors - both internally and externally - how recruitment experts can build awareness of employer brand, by utilising the breadth and depth of social networks.

"HR must never be the owners of employer branding, we are the facilitators," he says, making a point on the ownership of branding. However he cautions, "Before we start branding outside, we should focus on things inside."


Next up, we're inviting another regional talent acquisition leader, she comes with more than 25 years of experience - Leesa Rawlings, Diageo's Asia Pacific talent engagement lead.

The way Leesa approaches her job to strive to be at the forefront of recruiting innovation and operationalising ideas that are aligned not only to business goals, but also an admittedly complex APAC region. In doing so, she leads a dedicated group of TA professionals who help solve Diageo’s toughest business challenges – sourcing and recruiting. In her presentation, she talks about how to create a digital workplace - moreover, how to do that by building a talent network model.

One of the most revolutionary ideas she shares is how Diageo has stopped resumes at the door. "We have replaced resumes with assessing potential in a candidate," she reveals.


We now jump into a roudtable discussion where delegates discuss the advantages and perils of social media to their organisation’s sourcing framework.


Our next speaker is one of the region's foremost opportunity brokers, Michael Wright, global head of talent acquisition at Grab. After 11 years in Asia Pacific, Michael, who is equally well respected as a prominent speaker, as well as award-winning in-house recruitment professional of the year for 2016 - is leaving APAC for New York!

While we congratulate him on his assignment, we are also privileged to today learn from his secrets of building an award-winning, future-facing talent acquisition function.

michael resized

Our next speaker promises to follow through with a presentation linking recruitment to business growth - in terms of the people, process and technology perspective - Gaurav Sharma, the HR director for Coca-Cola’s Singapore and Malaysia bottling operations, where his role is to build capability and lead HR transformation.

He comes to this role with plenty of experience, from past employers - PepsiCo, ICI (now AkzoNobel) and Vega Foods. Today, he brings a refreshing take on recruitment's role in business strategy.

Talking about Coca-Cola bottling investment group's monthly cycle of reflect, engage, align, and listen; Sharma zooms in to "listen", i.e. "humanising work that is most important to us, and getting feedback from your team in order to manage them better."

Shifting focus to onboarding, he says: "When you get people through the door, they come with certain expectations - how will their career take off here, what kind of support will they get?"

"For us, it's really simple - we tell them, you all come with a secret formula. You will need to understand what your strengths are, you will then identify which roles are best for you. We tell them to plan this with their manager. But the important thing is - the accountability is with the employee.


Starting off today's conference is the head of recruitment for GlaxoSmithKline for the Asia region, John Kivel. John has global experience in designing and implementing recruitment strategies across APAC, North America and EMEA - apart from his deep experience in executing high-volume growth and streamlining processes.

He is no stranger to Asia, having lived and worked internationally for the past 15 years, currently residing in Shanghai. Today his presentation is on recruitment in the age of rapid innovation and tough competition.

He starts off by talking about the need to change the way we do job descriptions, and why we in the industry must stop making them so boring, and make them innovative instead - to a rapt audience. "The reason why this stuff matters - the candidates care about the experience," he says.

"My colleagues and I have begun to take this very seriously. We came out with a project charter, to put a methodology in place to attack the problem of candidate experience." He adds: "One way to look at it is- how did you feel when you were interviewed? That will help you think about the candidates -it could be the biggest day of the year for them."


Human Resources regional editor Aditi Sharma Kalra welcomes delegates as she opens the event.

In her opening speech, she said: “For this first day of the conference, some of the highlights are keynote presentations by HR heads from Coca-Cola bottling investment group, Grab's global head of talent acquisition, and Diageo's regional talent engagement lead. They are going to cover a number of topics on stage - but equally we will have an opportunity to have off-stage debriefs, during roundtable conversations as well.”

With that, she welcomes the first speaker on stage.